Mapuche, Araucanian in Chile

Mapuche, Araucanian
Photo Source:  Andy McCullough 
Map Source:  Wart Dark - Wikimedia
People Name: Mapuche, Araucanian
Country: Chile
10/40 Window: No
Population: 1,648,000
World Population: 1,781,000
Primary Language: Mapudungun
Primary Religion: Christianity
Christian Adherents: 70.00 %
Evangelicals: 29.42 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South American Indigenous
Affinity Bloc: Latin-Caribbean Americans
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

"Mapuche" comes from "mapu" (land or earth), and "che" (people). Thus they are "the people of the earth". The Mapuche culture first appeared in the South of Chile, in the province of Araucania. In the 16th and 17th Centuries they stopped the advance of the Incas, conquered a big portion of the Patagonia in Chile, and began to relate to the "Pehuenches", an ethnic group that lived in the mountains. Eventually the Pehuenches adapted Mapuche language and traditions.

In the 19th century, the Mapuches/Araucarian arrived to what it is today Neuquen, Argentina, and from there they expanded to the extended pampas initially populated by other ethnic groups named "Tehuelches", "Pampas" and "Ranqueles".
Mapuches held a long resistance to the advance of landowners. They were able to take the ranchers' horses and mastered the art of riding. By 1885, after many battles between Mapuches and the Argentinian army, they were defeated, and retreated to the desert.

Where Are they Located?

Today they live in the southern regions of Chile and in the Argentinean provinces of Chubut, Neuquen, Rio Negro, La Pampa and South of Buenos Aires and Mendoza.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Some have become activists for the protection of their rights. Many are losing their language and few of the younger generation speak it. Their well-known and difficult art of loom-knitting is also being lost, as most daughters don't learn it anymore. Mapuches live in small villages, but many have fled to the cities for better jobs and education where they often deny their origins.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Some are Roman-Catholics, others evangelical. But most still hold the traditional rites and beliefs. Mainly they believe that there is a god called "Nguenechen", literally "the owner of people", and make collective prayers and rituals, called "rogativas". In each tribe there is a "machi", a kind of witch-doctor. They believe that every tree, animal, river, etc. has a divine spirit which they worship.

What Are Their Needs?

They need to be able to keep their culture and language. They need to be embraced by the true love of God, and learn that He is the only true One.

Prayer Points

Pray that God will have compassion for them and raise missionaries who will teach them the Gospel respecting their love for nature and traditions. Pray also for deliverance from practices that bind them and keep them in poverty.

Text Source:   Anonymous